Jim Beam maker acquired by Japanese firm

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NEW YORK — The maker of classic American whiskeys Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark has agreed to be acquired by a Japanese company in a $13.62 billion deal that would create the third largest global premium spirits business.

Shares of Beam Inc. rose 24 percent Monday after it said it agreed to be purchased by Suntory Holdings Ltd., a Japanese beverage company. The combined company would have annual sales of
more than $4.3 billion.

The taste for bourbon – a type of American whisky made primarily of corn and typically distilled in Ken­tucky – continues to grow domestically and abroad.

In the U.S., sales volume for bourbon and Tennessee whiskeys such as Jack Dan­iels has grown 26 percent over the past decade, according to the Distilled Spir­its
Coun­­cil. Exports of U.S. whiskeys grew to roughly
$1 billion last year, more than double what it was a decade ago.

Suntory already distributes Beam products in Japan and has a portfolio of spirits with whiskies, including Yamazaki and Hakushu, along with Midori liqueur and other beverages. Beam, which is based in Deerfield, Ill., distributes Suntory’s products in Singapore and other Asian markets.

Suntory President and Chair­man Nobutada Saji said in a statement that the acquisition will help Suntory further its global growth. In recent years, Suntory has purchased French beverage maker Orangina Schweppes Group and GlaxoSmith Kline’s Lucozade and Ribena drinks.

Beam spokesman Clark­son Hine said that for now, the deal will result in few changes for fans of Beam’s bourbons. He also said Beam, which was spun off as a stand-alone company in 2011 from conglomerate Fortune Brands Inc., will keep its current management.

“It’s business as usual,” Hine said, noting that Suntory has indicated it wants the company to “keep doing what we’re doing.”

Allen Adamson, the managing director of Landor Asso­ciates, a New York-based branding firm, said Beam can gain a competitive advantage from being part of a bigger company with deeper pockets. He said ownership by a foreign company shouldn’t hurt the all-American images of Beam’s brands.

“The trick is to maintain its authenticity, and not muck with the core elements,” he said.

Suntory will pay $83.50 per share, a 25 percent premium to Beam’s Friday closing price of $66.97. The companies put the deal’s value at about $16 billion, including debt.

The deal needs approval from Beam Inc. stockholders. Shares of Beam rose $16.14 to $83.11 on Monday.

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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 01/14/14 - 07:38 am

It's time for me to change brands.

seenitB4 01/14/14 - 09:15 am
Why does this bother me so??

I don't even drink jim Beam but this makes me mad....I'm a vodka kind of drinker....can we keep ANYTHING in these USA of America...I mean really..... geeez....moonshine anyone>

Riverman1 01/14/14 - 12:00 pm
New promotional package

Their new promotional package for a bottle of JB will include a bottle of Sake and frozen sushi for only a few more yen. If you pay in dollars, you will have to pay a little more.

InChristLove 01/14/14 - 04:40 pm
My Word, it's im·be·cil·ic

My Word, it's im·be·cil·ic actions like a TD for Seenitb4's comment that makes me want to go SERIOUSLY!!! We might not always agree with what everyone else has to says, but a TD on a simple comment about keeping things here in the USA, can you (TDer) not at least act like an adult and be an American.

paladin5 01/15/14 - 04:10 am

Funnnnny...I needed a Good Laugh.....yet so true.

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